Portable Generator Inside the House...? [Archive] - Glock Talk

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Bolster
04-09-2012, 14:47
So, the standard opprobrium is to NEVER run a portable generator inside the house. Not even in the garage with the door open! Might kill yourself with CO, they say.

But who wants to publicly be running a generator after an event? OpSec and all that...generatorless neighbors showing up to demand their fair share...doogooders perloining it to run Grandma's refrigerator because her medicine needs refrigeraton...angry neighbors asking "What do YOU need your generator for?"

So...I got to wondering...what if you placed the portable generator in the fireplace (my little Honda would fit easily) and ported the exhaust up the chimney? Maybe with dryer ducting or similar? And for additional security, made certain your CO monitor was nearby?

mj9mm
04-09-2012, 15:01
No gasoline in the house!!!:wavey:

Bolster
04-09-2012, 15:03
Not even the gasoline in the generator's tank? (Fill it outside.) Why is that? Danger of fire or explosion? I have natural gas piped all over the house now...!

kckndrgn
04-09-2012, 15:05
nope, wouldn't do it. Build a small shed/storage building and run it from there. run your exhaust however you want.

googling "generator sound reduction" will return lots of valid and useful responses (along with some not-so useful)

Javelin
04-09-2012, 15:06
No storing gas in the house.

And just FWIW:

It just takes a little Carbon Monoxide slowly little by little to kill you in a building.

You will go to sleep and not wake up.

:wavey:

kewa0501
04-09-2012, 15:07
So, the standard opprobrium is to NEVER run a portable generator inside the house. Not even in the garage with the door open! Might kill yourself with CO, they say.

But who wants to publicly be running a generator after an event? OpSec and all that...generatorless neighbors showing up to demand their fair share...doogooders perloining it to run Grandma's refrigerator because her medicine needs refrigeraton...angry neighbors asking "What do YOU need your generator for?"

So...I got to wondering...what if you placed the portable generator in the fireplace (my little Honda would fit easily) and ported the exhaust up the chimney? Maybe with dryer ducting or similar? And for additional security, made certain your CO monitor was nearby?


Switch from gasoline to propane powered and it should be a little safer. Find a way to ensure 100% of exhaust gas is vented outside and you should be good to go.


A better option IMO is to change the exhaust on the honda or add-on more exhaust baffling to keep it quiet. Those hondas are already very quiet but after all power is gone I imagine it would be loud.

quake
04-09-2012, 15:17
I personally wouldn't, but I'm hyper-phobic about fire; I don't even like oil lamps & candles indoors if it can be avoided.

It could be made to work, and probably even made to work safely. It would just never be inside my comfort zone unless it was an absolute 'must' - meaning we'd die if we lost the generator, and we'd lose the generator if we didn't keep it in the house with us. Then, I'd find a way to do it; but short of that I probably wouldn't.

If you have an attached garage or sunroom, that'd still be less than ideal, but much better than in the actual house imo. I'd be very conscious of securing it, with a cable to an anchor in the concrete or similar. During ice-storm outages here, we've had people wake up to find their generators stolen during the night; sometimes finding a running lawnmower left in its place so the sudden absence of noise wouldn't wake them up.

quake
04-09-2012, 15:29
Switch from gasoline to propane powered and it should be a little safer.
That seems like a very good idea. I didn't know until someone pointed out here just a few days ago, that you can have the little generators easily converted to propane/LP gas.

If you built a snug-fitting coverplate for the front of your fireplace, and had at least a small muffin fan (as from a PC) built into the coverplate that forced air into the fireplace, that would likely help tremendously. Even better would be a fan inside the chimney itself above the generator - or in a 'snorkelized' vertical exhaust from the generator up the chimney - so it's pulling air rather than pushing it in. You'd have to worry about heat damaging the fan that way, but forced airflow would be my top priority if (and it's a big "if") a situation came up where I had to do this kind of thing.

HexHead
04-09-2012, 15:37
Shoot them when they show up with pitchforks and torches.

Bolster
04-09-2012, 16:01
a 'snorkelized' vertical exhaust from the generator up the chimney ...

That was my original thought...the engine would naturally push the exhaust up the snorkel (inside the chimney) and the hot gas would naturally rise anyway.

I also have the ability to largely seal off the fire place. Not air tight, but not bad, either.

I understand it's not ideal, but I'm thinking it might not be deadly either.

Devans0
04-09-2012, 16:26
I used a heavy chain on mine, to an outside tree. It stayed put. If SHTF and someone needs power, they can bring a battery to get charged...for a fair barter for gas payment. My immediate neighbors were happy that I let them run an extension cord until they could get situated.

Don't underestimate good neighbors. Lone wolfs don't do well.

AK_Stick
04-10-2012, 00:55
Much easier to put it in the garage, and buy one of the exhaust vents they make for cars so you can run them, and connect the exhaust to a tube that vents outside.


Its secure, and there's no additional risk of CO2 poisoning.

Its how my diesel generator will be mounted.

TangoFoxtrot
04-10-2012, 05:24
So, the standard opprobrium is to NEVER run a portable generator inside the house. Not even in the garage with the door open! Might kill yourself with CO, they say.

But who wants to publicly be running a generator after an event? OpSec and all that...generatorless neighbors showing up to demand their fair share...doogooders perloining it to run Grandma's refrigerator because her medicine needs refrigeraton...angry neighbors asking "What do YOU need your generator for?"

So...I got to wondering...what if you placed the portable generator in the fireplace (my little Honda would fit easily) and ported the exhaust up the chimney? Maybe with dryer ducting or similar? And for additional security, made certain your CO monitor was nearby?\

I see where your going with this, but I would not chance it. There has to be a more safe(or covert) solution to the senario you described.

Clay1
04-10-2012, 05:37
I have two generators. One at the main house and one at the recreational piece of property. Since there is no catalytic converter, the exhaust is more dangerous than a car exhaust. People with your idea die every single year from generator exhaust.

Propane is NOT safer for exhaust! People die from propane fueled generators too. The reason for Propane or Diesel is that the fuel is more stabile and lasts longer. Take your generator and figure out how much fuel it needs to run per hour and then just figure a week of solid running. Most people don't have a clue how much fuel that is.

I just have 6 six gallon tanks that I fill with premium, non ethanol fuel then add Sea Foam as a stabilizer. I rotate that fuel through the vehicles every six months and get fresh. Gas generators biggest issue is the fuel upkeep. My generators are really just set up for a couple of days of relief, after that it doesn't look good.

Mine are for storms, not for shtf scenarios.

SFCSMITH(RET)
04-10-2012, 06:03
You may, or may not be able to get the exhaust to do what you think it will. Spend anytime at all living with wood heat, and time on the forums devoted to it, and you will find plenty of people who have had much warmer and higher volume smoke/fumes/cO come back into their house. Sometimes it's atmospheric, sometimes a house under/over pressure, etc.

As others have said, I wouldn't chance it. I buried a loop of 3/4 stainless rod 24" in a concrete plug that is made from 6 bags of quikrete. A very large chain and lock then attach to the genny. I also built some noise abatement structure, but when it's dead quiet out, it can still be heard a fair ways off. But it's also a big generator.

I figure if the crazies come for your generator, for whatever reason, inside, outside, locked, camouflaged, etc. won't matter.

Big Bird
04-10-2012, 07:26
If you build a sandbag wall around your generator--slightly higher than the generator itself all the sound will be directed straight up. You can still hear the thing but its almost impossible to figure out what direction the sound is coming from. Have done this in situations where my life depended on it. It works

sebecman
04-10-2012, 08:08
You may, or may not be able to get the exhaust to do what you think it will. Spend anytime at all living with wood heat, and time on the forums devoted to it, and you will find plenty of people who have had much warmer and higher volume smoke/fumes/cO come back into their house. Sometimes it's atmospheric, sometimes a house under/over pressure, etc.

As others have said, I wouldn't chance it. I buried a loop of 3/4 stainless rod 24" in a concrete plug that is made from 6 bags of quikrete. A very large chain and lock then attach to the genny. I also built some noise abatement structure, but when it's dead quiet out, it can still be heard a fair ways off. But it's also a big generator.

I figure if the crazies come for your generator, for whatever reason, inside, outside, locked, camouflaged, etc. won't matter.

I have had the issues you speak of with my wood stove. Took me hanging out on forum site hearth.com to figure out my pressure problem.

I have a 3000 W portable generator in my RV. When I bought the RV the previous owner had the genny in the aft storage compartment and had piped the exhaust out the bottom of the RV using 2 inch pipe. What he did not realize is;

a. there was a crack in one of the elbows
b. the rv is not air tight and exhaust creeps back in.

I did a carbon monoxide test with it running for an hour and it was tripping my sensor all over the RV. It could have been lethal.

Generators need space.

sebecman
04-10-2012, 08:09
I figure if the crazies come for your generator, for whatever reason, inside, outside, locked, camouflaged, etc. won't matter.

This^

Bolster
04-10-2012, 08:27
No gasoline in the house!!!

nope, wouldn't do it.

I would not chance it.

People with your idea die every single year from generator exhaust.

I'm seeing a pattern here!

OK, won't do it.

Like the sandbag idea & the car-exhaust-vent ideas.

Thanks.

Pardoner
04-10-2012, 19:32
It is not worth risking.

I tested my generator just outside of my open garage door with no wind and my CO detector was off the chart in about 15 mins.

We have people who kill themselves every time we have a hurricane here. They tell people every 30 mins on the news about the dangers, newspapers print it on the front page and we still have people who think they can outsmart CO.

When we had our last hurricanes, I had to stop and tell some lady to get hers out of her garage. She would have been dead by morning and she was clueless. I guess she couldn't read or didn't have a TV either.

HOTHEAD
04-10-2012, 20:02
Family friend was working on a duplex he had just bought, he had killed the power on one side that he was working on, but living in. He placed the generator in the basement of the other unit, divided by a concrete wall and opened the windows in that basement. He finished up working and went up to the third floor on the side he was living, and figured the generator would only run for a little longer and run out of gas, so he went to bed..He never woke up


Uncle is Fire Chief for the town I live in, ( pop 100k) he tells me that about 5 people a year die here from generators. One that really stuck in my head was a family that lost power, his volunteer guys showed up and placed a generator 5 feet outside of the attached garage door with the door open to run a basement pump. When he arived he told them to check ppm levels and the house was already at dangerous levels after about 15 min.

Not only keep it the hell out of the house, keep it far enough away that draft is not an issue, ITS NOT WORTH IT

Bushflyr
04-10-2012, 20:28
Yeah, unless you have some solid piping to vent the exhaust outside, away from windows you're just asking for trouble.

I ran my eu2000 in my shop, door open with a fan blowing through, for just a few minutes while I was working on it. I was feeling fuzzy after only 10 minutes or so. Running it for real is asking for a long nap.

JK-linux
04-10-2012, 21:15
.....

Bolster
04-10-2012, 21:15
Yeah, unless you have some solid piping to vent the exhaust outside, away from windows you're just asking for trouble.

So with solid piping and sufficient CO alarms, it could possibly be permissible to bring a generator indoors? Or is this one of those "Yeah, you could sleep with a rattlesnake but why risk it" things? Sounding more and more like the latter.

@JK: compelling story!! Developing a whole new respect for that lil Honda! No need to jump off a cliff, use a .45 Colt, or cut my wrists! I can do myself with a gallon of gas any time I want! (Joking! Joking!)

G29Reload
04-10-2012, 22:54
This is why building a solar generator is so appealing to me.

quiet. dead quiet, not a peep.

No smelly, messy, dangerous fuel.

No re-fueling.

150w solar panel
charge regulator
battery bank equal to 3 days charge capy from the panel
Inverter back fed off the batts.


Juice. quiet, free, regenerative juice.


Shhhhhhhhhhhhh…...

Javelin
04-10-2012, 22:57
This is why building a solar generator is so appealing to me.

quiet. dead quiet, not a peep.

No smelly, messy, dangerous fuel.

No re-fueling.

150w solar panel
charge regulator
battery bank equal to 3 days charge capy from the panel
Inverter back fed off the batts.


Juice. quiet, free, regenerative juice.


Shhhhhhhhhhhhh…...

150W is not very much.

And to get solar power up to the 3k range in power is really expensive else I would definitely do it.

Donn57
04-11-2012, 07:56
This is why building a solar generator is so appealing to me.

quiet. dead quiet, not a peep.

No smelly, messy, dangerous fuel.

No re-fueling.

150w solar panel
charge regulator
battery bank equal to 3 days charge capy from the panel
Inverter back fed off the batts.


Juice. quiet, free, regenerative juice.


Shhhhhhhhhhhhh…...

Except for the lack of any real electricity, a solar generator is a great idea.

mikeflys1
04-11-2012, 08:29
This is why building a solar generator is so appealing to me.

quiet. dead quiet, not a peep.

No smelly, messy, dangerous fuel.

No re-fueling.

150w solar panel
charge regulator
battery bank equal to 3 days charge capy from the panel
Inverter back fed off the batts.


Juice. quiet, free, regenerative juice.


Shhhhhhhhhhhhh…...

150w might as well be nothing.

6StringGeek
04-11-2012, 09:02
Put it in a box underground?

quake
04-11-2012, 09:32
On the solar setup thing, 150watts is grossly weak compared to even a small generator, but leaps & bounds above having nothing. 150 watts x 10 hours sunlight ~ 1500 watt/hours per day useable or so, as long as you have the batteries for it (12vdc @ around 125ah or so?).

Definitely won't run a normal fridge or air-conditioner much, but it will let you run a whole lot of LED or even fluorescent lights, provide power to run (and recharge) your phone, radios, laptop, etc. It'd even run one of those 12-volt coolers meant for in-vehicle use. Iirc, they pull something like 35-40 watts when running, so run it for two hours, twice a day and it would let you keep baby formula or medications refrigerated.

Not saying it's anywhere near as capable as a generator because it isn't, but with some thought & careful application of usage, it's more capable than might seem at first glance.

For that matter, in our utility trailer (6x12 box trailer), just 20 watts of panels on the roof running to 28ah of batteries inside makes a world of difference in it. It lets us run lights, a fan, a 12-volt pump, and recharge phones & radios; taking it out of "flashlight-cave" status and making it actually pretty decent to work in.

Bolster
04-11-2012, 09:53
I for one would be THRILLED to have 150W of solar.

I need to charge batteries during power outages.

If I knew when I bought the generator, what I know now, I might have bought the solar first. I honestly think solar would get more use (from me, your use may be different) than the generator as it's on hand and ready to go at all times for small jobs.

Plus, no gasoline storage.

quake
04-11-2012, 11:08
You can also ease into a solar setup, going first with a battery bank, charge-controller, and inverter; and save the panel cost for a little later. Basically, keep the battery bank charged off normal house current, use from it when the power goes out, and let it recharge when the power comes back on.

If the power doesn't come back on soon enough though, you're hosed; no way around it.

DrSticky
04-11-2012, 12:28
During hurricanes people steal gensets all the time, but mostly at night since they don't want conflict. In the past we ran a generator during the day, and used those computer UPS devices to run the freezer at night. We put the genset outside where we could see it, and pulled it in at night. It worked okay. The UPS beeps and wouldn't run the freezer all night, but it kept everything cold. I think the freezer's start up needs were what ended it early.

The new plan is to run, deep cycle marine batteries and a 1500W inverter. So then we run the genset during the day outside to run the fridge, the freezer and a charger for the batteries. Then I can pull the genset into the garage at night. Other advantages include using solar to charge the battery array or charge it from a vehicle with jumper cables. We have the inverter and are working on creating a battery array now.

Downside is that they can still take your genset by force during the day, but most folks don't "need" power so it is different than flaunting food.

wjv
04-11-2012, 14:05
Leave it outdoors. Most good gens are pretty quiet, but you can also build a brick enclosure to help muffle the sound.

Put a heavy eye-bolt into concrete and buy a good chain.

Maybe even put a motion alarm on it.

Don't run it indoor. .

Bolster
04-11-2012, 14:12
The new plan is to run, deep cycle marine batteries and a 1500W inverter. So then we run the genset during the day outside to run the fridge, the freezer and a charger for the batteries. Then I can pull the genset into the garage at night.

Now that's thinking outside the box. Interesting.

wjv
04-11-2012, 14:44
Except for the lack of any real electricity, a solar generator is a great idea.

Especially up here in the pacific NW where we have 98% cloud coverage for 75% of the year. .

Bolster
04-11-2012, 14:52
Especially up here in the pacific NW where we have 98% cloud coverage for 75% of the year. .

Don't you guys have wind, tho?

wjv
04-11-2012, 16:05
Don't you guys have wind, tho?

Intermittently. . .

Donn57
04-11-2012, 17:08
I for one would be THRILLED to have 150W of solar.

I need to charge batteries during power outages.

If I knew when I bought the generator, what I know now, I might have bought the solar first. I honestly think solar would get more use (from me, your use may be different) than the generator as it's on hand and ready to go at all times for small jobs.

Plus, no gasoline storage.

As long as you're talking about AA batteries you'll be fine. If you're talking about a bank of deep cycle 12 volt batteries, you'll need your whole back yard to be full of solar panels getting full sunlight for six or more hours a day in order to charge the batteries in any reasonable length of time.

beatcop
04-11-2012, 18:33
I would pass on trying to run a micro genny in your fireplace or the like. I have heard osha stories of guys outdoors running equipment and guys in a trench or pit getting killed from the fumes settling out in the pit.

Bolster
04-11-2012, 19:32
As long as you're talking about AA batteries you'll be fine. If you're talking about a bank of deep cycle 12 volt batteries, you'll need your whole back yard to be full of solar panels getting full sunlight for six or more hours a day in order to charge the batteries in any reasonable length of time.

Really? I thought 150w would maintain one or two deep-cycle 12 volts in a reasonable time. My goal is modest, two 12v deep-cycles, three later. I want to charge AA batts, ham radios, run some LEDs, maybe a small fan. Possibly a laptop.

I would pass on trying to run a micro genny in your fireplace or the like. I have heard osha stories of guys outdoors running equipment and guys in a trench or pit getting killed from the fumes settling out in the pit.

Yikes! A trench, now! Don't worry, I've given up the "venting up the chimney" idea in post #19. Too many people telling me not to do it, and I DO listen.

However I need someone to explain to me why venting my car's exhaust down a gopher hole doesn't kill the gopher!!

TangoFoxtrot
04-12-2012, 05:07
The bottom line bolster is you have to weigh the risks vs the rewards.

Glockdude1
04-12-2012, 05:13
Much easier to put it in the garage, and buy one of the exhaust vents they make for cars so you can run them, and connect the exhaust to a tube that vents outside.


Its secure, and there's no additional risk of CO2 poisoning.

Its how my diesel generator will be mounted.

That is the set up I use for my generator. I have had to use it this way twice now. Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Ike in 2008.

:cool:

HOTHEAD
04-12-2012, 05:43
That is the set up I use for my generator. I have had to use it this way twice now. Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Ike in 2008.

:cool:

Just out of curiosity, what would happen if someone walked by your house in the middle of the night, and gave that plastic tube sticking out of your garage a good pull while you were sleeping? Not being argumentative, just every neighborhood has little brats that dont think before they mess with other peoples ****, especially when the cops are busy, like during power outages.

Donn57
04-12-2012, 07:38
Really? I thought 150w would maintain one or two deep-cycle 12 volts in a reasonable time. My goal is modest, two 12v deep-cycles, three later. I want to charge AA batts, ham radios, run some LEDs, maybe a small fan. Possibly a laptop.


Actually, it probably will charge one or two batteries in a reasonable amount of time depending on the amp hours of the batteries and the amp output of the panel (4 or 5 amps, I am assuming).

As long as you stuck to low power devices, this setup might well work, but it isn't really a replacement for a good genny.

Glockdude1
04-12-2012, 07:57
Just out of curiosity, what would happen if someone walked by your house in the middle of the night, and gave that plastic tube sticking out of your garage a good pull while you were sleeping? Not being argumentative, just every neighborhood has little brats that dont think before they mess with other peoples ****, especially when the cops are busy, like during power outages.

I run the exhaust out, into my backyard. Anyone walking by, day or night, would not see anything out of place. It works very well, and is not very loud.

:cool:

AK_Stick
04-13-2012, 23:17
Just out of curiosity, what would happen if someone walked by your house in the middle of the night, and gave that plastic tube sticking out of your garage a good pull while you were sleeping? Not being argumentative, just every neighborhood has little brats that dont think before they mess with other peoples ****, especially when the cops are busy, like during power outages.



Since the tube runs into a metal port, from the inside, and the hose clamps onto the port, you wouldn't have anything to grab.


You could try to plug it with something, but being a diesel generator, good luck with that.

Adams454
04-14-2012, 11:20
When I lived in FL, I used to use mine in the garage during hurricane power outages. When we built the house I had them install a welding plug in the garage just for that purpose. And when I needed to run it, I would open the garage door, back my truck up to it where thieves couldn't get by the truck with my generator, Then use a gorilla cable and secure the gen to the hitch on my truck. When I started it up I would have the attic access and the door going into the house sealed with duct tape. And I had 2 windows in the garage where I would put a box fan in each with both blowing air out. Never had a problem.

GIockGuy24
04-14-2012, 13:00
Not even the gasoline in the generator's tank? (Fill it outside.) Why is that? Danger of fire or explosion? I have natural gas piped all over the house now...!

Once I was working on an older gentleman's house. It had water damage. The insurance had already paid for the repairs but had never looked at the damage. The insurance agent stopped by the house while I was working on it. He said he, "was in the area" and decided to see how it looked. The owner had a large sealed can near the back door. The insurance agent asked him what was in the can. The owner said, "kerosene." The insurance agent told him he couldn't have kerosene inside the house.

malleable
04-14-2012, 17:31
tagged

Jonesee
04-14-2012, 18:50
For those attempting to use solar to power batteries, I suggest you go to sailing cruising forums. Here is a URL:

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f14/

These guys count on solar to run everything they use 24/7/365. Read their posts and you understand what solar and batteries can do and not do.

AK_Stick
04-14-2012, 22:34
Once I was working on an older gentleman's house. It had water damage. The insurance had already paid for the repairs but had never looked at the damage. The insurance agent stopped by the house while I was working on it. He said he, "was in the area" and decided to see how it looked. The owner had a large sealed can near the back door. The insurance agent asked him what was in the can. The owner said, "kerosene." The insurance agent told him he couldn't have kerosene inside the house.


Its not "kerosene"

Its heating oil. :wavey:

wjv
04-16-2012, 17:44
Its not "kerosene"

Its heating oil. :wavey:

Where I grew up (in Chicago) we had a 300 gallon tank of heating oil in the basement!

mikekj
04-17-2012, 17:22
That was my original thought...the engine would naturally push the exhaust up the snorkel (inside the chimney) and the hot gas would naturally rise anyway.

I also have the ability to largely seal off the fire place. Not air tight, but not bad, either.

I understand it's not ideal, but I'm thinking it might not be deadly either.

You will not be able to seal off the fireplace, because the generator will need air for combustion.

It cannot use air from the fireplace because that O2 will be displace by the exhaust.

Fresh air will need to be supplied by inside air or outside duct.